Actors Who Quietly Played Different Roles In The Same Show

Actor Ryan Reynolds
instagram | @vancityreynolds

When you think about it, an actor's most important trait is the ability to blend, chameleon-like, into any role they might be playing. Some actors take this to extremes, though, and play multiple roles in the same production.

You've probably never noticed this before. I know I haven't. The reason, of course, is that good actors can disappear into their roles.

Warwick Davis

Warwick Davis was unforgettable in his role as Professor Flitwick in the Harry Potter franchise. But did you know that he also provided the voice for Verne Troyer's Griphook character? Eventually, Davis wound up playing the entire role of Griphook.

Dean-Charles Chapman

Actor Dean-Charles Chapman in an interview
youtube | Variety

Dean-Charles Chapman is known for playing the ill-fated King Tommen Baratheon on Game of Thrones, ascending to the throne after the death of King Joffrey. But Chapman had a minor role in the series long before he played Tommen: that of a lesser Baratheon who was killed off.

Hayden Panettiere

Panettiere has the rare distinction of having appeared on the same show, in different roles, as both a child and an adult. She was in Law & Order: Special Victims Unit as a neglected child, then later returned to the series to play a prostitute.

Peter Capaldi

Peter Capaldi appearing on 'Doctor Who', reaching out as ash rains down on him
Giphy | Doctor Who

Capaldi plays the Doctor himself on Doctor Who. Before playing the 12th Doctor, though, he portrayed a sculptor on the same show. In this case, the sculptor was saved by the 11th Doctor, seemingly unaware that the guy he was saving would go on to play his successor.

Karen Gillian

Actor Karen Gillian in an interview
youtube | The Graham Norton Show

While we're on the Doctor Who train, let's talk about Karen Gillian. She's known as the 11th Doctor's companion (the guy who saved Peter Capaldi), but she also had a smaller role in the episode where Capaldi was saved.

Queen Latifah

Lots of people probably recognize Queen Latifah's appearances on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. But in her appearances, she wasn't playing the same character. She showed up in season one to play an annoying actor, then returns in the second season as Will's blind date.

Jerry Orbach

Actor Jerry Orbach gif
Giphy | HerRoyalRedness

The late Jerry Orbach played the lead role of Detective Lennie Briscoe on the original Law & Order, but before playing Briscoe, he appeared in a slightly different role in the series: that of attorney Frank Lehrmann, who was defending a woman accused of killing her husband.

Kali Rocha

Actor Kali Rocha in an interview
youtube | HappyCool

Kali Rocha is well remembered for her memorable portrayal of Halfrek on Buffy the Vampire Slayer (the TV show with Sarah Michelle Gellar, not the movie with Kristy Swanson). Rocha also had a smaller role in the series with her portrayal of Spike's first love, Cecily.

John Leguizamo

One of Leguizamo's first big roles was on the '80s TV series Miami Vice. He had a two-season run playing a gangster's son, then came back awhile later to play a different character: a white supremacist drug dealer.

Doug Jones

Actor Doug Jones in Pan's Labyrinth

This one almost feels like cheating, as the actor is unrecognizable in both roles. But in Guillermo Del Toro's freaky Pan's Labyrinth, Jones disappeared into the dual roles of the Faun and the Pale Man — aided by some prosthesis and CGI effects, of course.

William Sadler

Grim Reaper rocking out with Bill & Ted
Giphy | Bill & Ted Face the Music

Sadler's had a long and distinguished film career, but many of us probably remember him best for his portrayal of the Grim Reaper in Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey. In a blink-and-you'll-miss-it scene, Sadler also played a guy listening to rock and roll in his kitchen.

Jonathan Hyde

Actor Michael Hyde in Jumanji gif

Jonathan Hyde did an incredible job playing Van Pelt, the big bad of the original Jumanji. He also played Sam Parrish, the mean father of Robin Williams' character. It's a unique example of one actor playing two villains in the same movie.

Michael Parks

Actor Michael Parks in an interview
youtube | Alan Eichler

Parks didn't technically play two different roles in the same movie, but he did play two different roles in the same franchise. He was a Texas Ranger in Kill Bill: Vol. 1, then returned to play a pimp in the second movie.

Eddie Murphy

Eddie Murphy in 'Coming To America' saying "I am very happy to be here!"
Giphy | HBO Max

Eddie Murphy may well be the king of playing different characters in the same movie, and this trait got started in 1988's Coming to America. Murphy played not two, not three, but four different roles in the movie: Clarence, Randy Watson, Saul and, of course, Prince Akeem.

Arsenio Hall

Believe it or not, there's a second actor who also played four roles in Coming to America: Arsenio Hall. His supporting role, or roles, included Semmi, Morris, a girl in a bar, and Reverend Brown. It's safe to say that both Hall and Eddie Murphy earned their paychecks.

Dick Van Dyke

Was Dick Van Dyke's attempt at a cockney accent the worst part of Mary Poppins? Opinions may differ, but if you're not here for his portrayal of the cockney chimney sweep, you can also catch him playing a banker in the same movie — though he was credited as 'Navckid Keyd'.

Ian Whyte

Ian Whyte is a very large man, so when Game of Thrones needed to cast very large men, he was, quite understandably, a go-to. Whyte portrayed various characters throughout the show's run, including Ser Gregor and Wun Wun.

Benedict Cumberbatch

Benedict Cumberbatch as Doctor Strange gif

You'd think that Cumberbatch wouldn't have the bandwidth to play anything other than Doctor Strange in Doctor Strange. I mean, he's the star of the show. Still, he was so committed to the film that he took on the dual roles of the Doctor along with the villain Dormammu.

Ryan Reynolds

It's well known that the role of Deadpool is very important to Reynolds, almost a passion project. Not only has Reynolds played Deadpool on numerous occasions, he's also lent a hand in the development of the Juggernaut character. You might have missed his second role in Deadpool 2, where Reynolds provided the voice and motion capture for Juggernaut.

Jeremy Bulloch

Boba Fett gif
Giphy | Vue

Jeremy Bulloch might not be a household name today, but most of us have probably seen his portrayal of Boba Fett in Star Wars: Episode V — The Empire Strikes Back. Bulloch played not just Boba Fett, but also Imperial officer Lieutenant Sheckil, who used Princess Leia as a human shield.